The Confederation of European Waste-to-Energy Plants (CEWEP) has called for a “more ambitious” deadline for implementing the banning of recyclable material to landfill.
In response to the EU Commission’s announcement that it proposes implementing a 70 percent recycling target for 2030 and banning all recyclable material from landfill by 2025, the CEWEP has said that a deadline of 2020 would have been preferable.
“This delay is a lost opportunity for improving resource use,” it said, “considering that more than 80m tonnes of municipal waste is still landfilled in the EU 28 each year.”
A ban on landfilling will provide the legal certainty required for future planning and investments in the necessary recycling and energy recovery infrastructure – unleashing the full potential of waste as a resource, it says.
This will increase material recycling rates and energy generation from the remaining waste.
CEWEP hopes that the vital issue of quality recycling, rather than just focusing on quantity, will receive greater attention in the on-going revision.
CEWEP – “This delay is a lost opportunity for improving resource use, considering that more than 80m tonnes of municipal waste is still landfilled in the EU 28 each year”
It says that quality recycling is key in order to enable industry and consumers to have greater confidence in recycled materials, and to actually use them.
To develop quality recycling accurate measurement, better data and transparency about what goes in and what goes out of recycling plants need to be in focus.
It says that greater transparency is also necessary in order to avoid that the EU’s “recycling” targets are achieved simply by shipping the waste to countries with poorer environmental and social standards than those in Europe.
CEWEP stressed that waste to energy plants act as a driver for quality recycling by treating polluted and complex waste, keeping harmful substances out of the circular economy.
The proposed EU targets will mean that member states will need to recycle 70 percent of municipal waste and 80 percent of packaging waste by 2030, and ban burying recyclable waste (e.g. plastics, metals, glass, paper and cardboard, and biodegradable waste) in landfill as of 2025.
A target is also included for reducing marine litter along with food waste reduction objectives.
Achieving the new waste targets would create 580 000 new jobs, while making Europe more “competitive and reducing demand for costly scarce resources,” according to the Commission.
The new targets are part of its ambitious drive towards transitioning Europe from a linear to a “circular economy”.